THE Golf Foundation has welcomed Meghan MacLaren as an ambassador for the national golf charity that encourages young people from all backgrounds to benefit from the sport.
Meghan’s first assignment was performed with skill and style at Golf At Goodwood on Sunday, as she struck the first official shot to launch the foundation’s national GolfSixes League series that can help thousands of boys and girls to thrive in team golf in their golf clubs.
MacLaren, who started out as a junior at Wexham Park, in Berkshire, is currently fourth in the Ladies European Tour (LET) Order of Merit.
In her short career MacLaren, who is a member at Wellingboro GC, has won four times on the professional stage – twice in her time on the LET Access Series and twice since playing on the Ladies European Tour itself – in both cases winning the NSW Open in Australia, retaining her title Down Under in March.
The Northamptonshire star narrowly missed out on making history when finishing runner-up in the Jordan Mixed Open – the first tournament where LET stars played against members of the European Challenge Tour and the Staysure Seniors.
Meghan’s opening tee-shot at Golf At Goodwood heralded a season in which 56 inter-club GolfSixes Leagues featuring more than 250 golf clubs will take place in England, Scotland and Wales,.
More than 3,000 boys and girls and their families stand to benefit from the competition, comprising teams of six, playing six holes in team colours.
Every child taking part in GolfSixes League receives three Titleist golf balls – the manufacturer is a key supporter of the Golf Foundation.
Meghan MacLaren said: “It was wonderful to meet and chat with the young players and their parents. Many are new to golf but it was great to see families walking around together in the fresh air.
“It was also very refreshing to see competitive mixed golf at a young age so that girls and boys see this as a normal part of golf and life. It’s fantastic the Golf Foundation is supporting all young people from all backgrounds to get into golf.
“I am also really impressed with the active efforts by this charity to encourage more girls into golf and to give girls of all ages opportunities within the sport, even offering them leadership training.
“I was very fortunate as a young junior that my first club, was really supportive towards its young players. Boys and girls need a welcoming environment and good mentors in order to thrive together.”
Golf Foundation chief executive Brendon Pyle said: “We believe Meghan’s highly positive attitude, spirit and sense of sportsmanship makes her an excellent role model for girls and boys, established and new to the sport.
“We are quite sure she will be a fantastic ambassador for our work. It was no surprise to us that after flying in from Dubai on Saturday and watching her beloved Newcastle United FC at St James’ Park on Saturday night, that Meghan then travelled the length of the country to join us on Sunday.
“Meghan was brilliant here for us – always encouraging to the youngsters with a sense of humour that the parents really enjoyed too.
“It’s great for children to meet top players and her shot-making will have inspired them, along with her patiently answering their questions and signing hats and balls.
“We were also hugely fortunate to be able to stage this event at Golf At Goodwood. Their golf team led by Stuart Gillett were fantastic in their support and helped to demonstrate what a friendly and welcoming venue this is.”
General manager Gillett the Chichester club said: “We were delighted to host the first event in this exciting series on The Park course at Golf At Goodwood. On the same day we also held our Junior Open on The Downs course so had over 120 juniors playing across both courses, which just demonstrates how important the development of the game is to us at Golf At Goodwood.”
The Golf Foundation requests all golf clubs taking part in GolfSixes League to encourage at least two girls to take part in each team of six.
As an early signatory of The R&A’s Women in Golf Charter, the Foundation has a key focus in encouraging more girls into the sport, and supporting girls to become young leaders and role models for other girls in the future.
The foundation is urging golf clubs to involve more girls in their activities, is partnering England Golf in the growing ‘Girls Golf Rocks’ initiative in 26 counties, while encouraging schools to include 50 per cent girls in their mixed teams for the school games.
For more inforamtion about Golf Sixes click here.